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Cameras allowed for the first time as Andrew Freund appears in court in AJ Freund murder

Andrew Freund, defended by Special Public Defender Henry Sugden, left, is lead out of court after a status hearing inside the McHenry County Courthouse on Tuesday, Jan. 14 | Photo: Matthew Apgar / Shaw Media.

As Andrew Freund Sr. appeared in court Tuesday morning for a status hearing, news cameras were allowed for the first time ever at the McHenry County courthouse.

Freund Sr., 61, and his attorney, Special Public Defender Henry H. Sugden, appeared before McHenry County Judge Robert Wilbrant.

Prosecutors filed order of protections against medical records during the hearing. Also during the hearing, Judge Wilbrandt granted the “extended media coverage” request and said that media cameras will be allowed in all future proceedings in Freund’s case.

The images captured Tuesday of Freund Sr., who was dressed in an orange jumpsuit, was the first time the public has seen him since his and JoAnn Cunningham’s mugshots when they were charged with first-degree murder.

McHenry County Assistant State’s Attorney Rita Gara said that no plea deal has been offered to Freund Sr.

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Three days after AJ Freund’s death, Freund Sr. reported the 5-year-old missing on April 18. During a 911 call, Freund Sr. calmly told an emergency dispatcher that he last saw his son when he put him to bed around 9:30 p.m. April 17 at the family home on Dole Avenue in Crystal Lake.

Freund Sr. and Cunningham were both charged with AJ’s murder on April 24 after an almost week-long search for the child. Police found the young boy’s body buried in a shallow grave in a field near Woodstock.

On December 5, Cunningham pleaded guilty to first-degree murder after initially pleading not guilty. She faces between 20 and 60 years in prison.

Freund Sr. is scheduled to appear in court again on February 27. A sentencing date has not been set yet for Cunningham.


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